Photo by Charles Luce
Provenance of Dish
This recipe is shamelessly purloined from Eugenia Bone’s book, The Kitchen Ecosystem. It does, however, have a unique twist: the use of grayling mushrooms (Cantharellula umbonota).
Of all the mushrooms I collect and eat, Graylings are the most unusual. They are tiny - caps rarely exceeding the size of a dime; they grow only in hair-cap moss; and they emerge - if they emerge - just days before autumn’s first frost. On the other hand, I find them beautiful, tasty and emotionally stirring.
Cropping in groups against the moss’ vivid green, their bluish-gray, nippled caps are distinctive. Their very long stems stain red when handled, and their gill symmetry is striking. It takes hours to harvest enough for a batch of the condiment described here, hours that can be spent in the clear sloping light of a crisp October afternoon, or a driving sleet storm, or under the puzzled gaze of deer hunters.
Most of all, graylings are bittersweet. Usually the last mushrooms of the season, they inspire reflection about the feasts of the past spring and summer and of the cold winter to come, a train of thought I enjoy not only while kneeling in the moss picking them, but every day I have them pickled on a dinner salad. This recipe is 1/3 the recommended size, for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who’s foraged these diminutive fungi.
2 cups Grayling (Cantharellula umbonata) mushrooms. (OK to add a few other-color mushrooms for contrast.)
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 two-inch piece of rosemary
1 quarter-size piece of bay leaf
1, one-inch section of lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons grated garlic
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Melt coconut oil in a large, heavy, well-seasoned skillet over high heat.
When oil is shimmering, add the mushrooms.
After one minute, toss mushrooms and reduce heat to medium-low.
Continue to sauté until mushrooms are limp and partially browned, 5 - 10 minutes, then remove from heat and transfer to a medium heat-proof bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients and toss well, until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a bowl with a lid (eg - Tupperware), or cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Pour into a sterilized glass jar. Add olive oil if needed to cover mushrooms.
Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Suggested uses: Pizza topping (after pizza is completely done). Added to arugula salad with pear. Added to avocado toast. Scattered across grilled steak. Atop hamburgers.